Could Next Season Be Szczesny's Time Again?

So, it’s been two years since Szczesny embarked on his Italian job with Roma and now it’s time for him to return to North London, well hopefully in my opinion. If you’ve been paying attention to recent rumours you’ll know that Napoli have been heavily linked with the goalkeeper, and with his contract expiring this summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he chooses to stay in Serie A.
Yes he isn’t quite Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil, but I’d still like to see him stay and compete for a place in the team next season. After moving to Roma as Cech came in from Chelsea there wasn’t that learning period under the Czech but Szczesny’s loan didn’t seem too bad looking back.
The loan period may have come at just the right time for the 27 year old too. If you cast your mind back to his last season in the Premier League, Szczesny’s performances and professionalism were starting to drop off quite a bit. Both by fans and the media were vocal about this as he lost his place in the side in the second half of that season, so maybe a trip away from England was just what he needed. A fresh start and a new challenge to make him really think about how he wants his career to progress.
After battling for the number 1 spot on the team sheet with David Ospina in the 2014/15 season and only making 17 league appearances, the Pole found some regular first team action in Serie A. in his two seasons at Roma he saw himself play 72 out of 76 league games (playing every minute of the 2016/17 Serie A season). Also since being in Rome, similarly to Jack Wilshere at Bournemouth, there haven’t been any stories I can recall specifically digging him out for any wrongdoings since they’ve been on loan.
Over this time Szczesny has seemed to improve a lot, helping Roma finish 3rd and 2nd respectively, while there have been question marks over the two keepers who are still at the club. The season that just finished saw him keep the most clean sheets in Serie A with 14, almost doubling his tally of 8 from the previous season. This was also 2 more than our Premier League regular Petr Cech, which if converted over would’ve put us into the top 4 (Yes I do know that Szczesny would not have necessarily kept those extra 2 clean sheets in the Premier League).
Another aspect of Woj’s game that draws me to him more than Cech or Ospina is his distribution. Yes Pep may have sent his keeper over to Italy to become better with his feet but it has been more evident with our boy. Despite already showing good capability of finding his team mates further up the pitch, Szczesny’s distribution numbers have rocketed as Cech’s come under scrutiny. Cech’s distribution accuracy for the 2016/17 season lays at an underwhelming 64% and has bugged me personally when watching Arsenal games and gives some reason for Woj to come back in. Szczesny’s accuracy numbers have risen since he left for Italy, jumping from 68% in his last season with Arsenal, to 72% in 2015/16 and now being at a peek 80% it this alone could help prevent goals as well as build attacks, especially if we continue with our 3 at the back formation. The clear example that springs to mind when better distribution could’ve prevented a goal was Cesc Fabregas’ goal against us at Stamford Bridge which was simply unacceptable.
However, the two do share good similarities as they both only conceded from 24% of the shots on target they faced this season. With that in the bag maybe the upcoming could see Cech take more of a tutor type of role as Szczesny secures his starting spot again to guide him when necessary.
With nobody doubting how good a shot stopper he is and was before going out on loan, maybe now we have a Szczesny who is ready to perform again in the Premier League. I just hope that the Napoli links to pull him away from us forever. Also with the off chance of our two main keepers getting injured at the same time this’ll allow us to play a more experienced keeper than Emiliano Martinez.
But with that being said, if Szczesny returns for good, what’ll happen to David Ospina. As usual, this season the Columbian was used as more of a backup keeper who would put in very impressive performances when called upon. The most memorable of those performances this season being in the 1-1 draw away to PSG in the Champions League as well as the weekend’s game against Chelsea where 2 great saves kept Diego Costa at bay.
With such impressive performances and his most amount of appearances in a Premier League season being 18 in his first season at Arsenal, maybe it’s not Szczesny we should be worried about leaving, but the 28 year old instead.

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